The new Air 5 RCMP helicopter was unveiled Thursday in Langley. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

New ‘workhorse’ police helicopter named for pilot who died in Fraser Valley crash

The new Air 5 chopper is named for David John Brolin.

The new Air 5 RCMP helicopter was officially unveiled in Langley, dedicated to a pilot who died in a training crash seven years ago in Chilliwack.

The brand new H145 Airbus helicopter is larger and has more bells and whistles than other local police helicopters, including longer range cameras, a hoist that can haul up rescue victims or allow ERT members to rappel down, space for two stretchers in the back, and simplified computerized displays for the pilot.

• READ MORE: RCMP release name of helicopter pilot killed in crash near Chilliwack

But Cpl. Curtis Brassington, the tactical flight officer, choked up when talking about one particular feature – the name and call sign, which are in honour of the late civilian pilot Dave Brolin.

Brolin’s initials form (DJB) the last three letters of the aircraft’s call sign, and “The Spirit of Holidave” has been written on the side of the helicopter, after Brolin’s nickname.

Compared to the smaller and lighter Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters often seen over the Lower Mainland, the new Air 5 is more of a “workhorse,” according to the RCMP officials on hand for the unveiling.

It will be based out of the RCMP hangar in Langley, but will operate province-wide. With its twin-engine design – a first for an RCMP helicopter in B.C. – it can travel over water by night, and is also capable of dropping off patients directly at hospital helicopter landing pads.

Asked about recent noisy training flights that disrupted sleep for people in Cloverdale and parts of Langley, Brassington noted that those were done using a B3 helicopter borrowed from Edmonton for training.

“We have been operational at night for the last 13 years,” Brassington said.

He noted that the new H145 Airbus should not only be quieter than the B3 being used for training, it should be quieter than the current smaller Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters.

“Will we be doing training in Willoughby?” Brassington said. “We may!”

They do their training in areas where they may have to work, which includes urban and suburban areas, he noted.

The Air 5 cost $13.4 million, funded 70 per cent by the province and 30 per cent by Ottawa. It’s expected operational lifespan is about 20 years.

The Air 5 isn’t in the air quite yet. Pilots and crews still have two to three months of training to do before it’s fully operational.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Another snowfall warning for Lower Mainland

Another 5-10 cm expected for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Sunshine Coast

Harrison to participate in inter-municipal business licence program

Construction companies and related businesses will be able to work across the Fraser Valley in 2020

Saskia and Darrel kick off spring tour with Chilliwack concert

Stories of the Great Plains delivered in Gaelic, French and more

RCMP officer reaching out to youth about intimate partner violence

Chilliwack officer and friends of Maple Batalia team up to encourage bystanders to speak up

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read